Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What an insane day...but I'm okay...

WOW. Today was the mother of all crazy days. I had a feeling this morning that it was going to be another one of those days. Especially when I found out that the IGC was going to be choosing a president and prime minister to run the country until elections in January. So, that being said, we rolled out to our normal "meet the community" day and there was about half as many people. I turned to the gunner and commented on the bad omen this was. Sure enough, as we're driving from the community center. BOOM! BOOM! One was close and right behind us. So we turned around and drove to the impact site. No damage cause it hit in an empty piece of dirt but the shrapnel went everywhere. So, I do my crater analysis piece (more on that when I get around to telling ya'll what I do here), take some pics and entertain some special forces guys who heard the blast and want to sightsee. About half-an-hour passes and I get back in the truck to continue our mission. Both the CPT and I are sitting in the truck with our Kevlars off trying to cool down in the heat when we hear the sky torn apart. RIIIIIIP! We both just look at each other and scramble for our kevlars. BOOM! BOOM! He throws the car into gear and squeels the tires getting to the impact. We get the grid and realize that the impact is in the middle of a housing complex (the KDP, Kurdistan Diplomatic Party). We turn onto the street into a tornado of activity. People are running everywhere. Screaming. Crying. Shouting. I grab the radio to call it in as the CPT sprints to the scene. Wounded he yells. I call up the information to my fire support guys. Realizing I'm sounding just a tad bit too freaked, I take a deep breath to calmly call it in. At least 4 KIA, mulitples wounded. Main copies and askes if we need medical support. I tell them no because the Kurds are throwing people in their silver SUVs and hauling butt to the Combat Support Hospital. About 4 SUVs speed off with lots wounded. After they clear out, I run over to the house and go inside to asses the damage and make sure there's no UXO in the house. I couldn't believe the damage. It ripped part of the roof off of the building and just decimated the room. Ensuring everyone left was okay, I ran back downstairs to the truck. Taking a deep breath and lots of water, my heart slowly returned to normal. Hearing that the other boom is close to where we are, we drive towards the reported location. Luckily, this one hit a building no one was in and there aren't any casualties. Hot as all get out, I'm downing as much water as I can without getting sick. Taking a pause, we sit on the side of the road waiting for everything to get cleared up. After about 15 minutes, we turn around and start moving towards our checkpoint. We're driving on the road leading right to the checkpoint when BOOM! and the whole HUMVEE shakes. I look up the road and all i see is this massive cloud of smoke rising up from past the checkpoint. I know immediately that it's a VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device) and that lots of people are very hurt. The driver floors the gas to get to the checkpoint. Rolling up, we hear tons of small arms fire, about 500 meters in front of us. Sounds just like a firefight. I jump into the tower to see what's going on and see a burning building but not much else. I look around for a while, and decide to go back to the ground to see what else is going on. The VBIED is outside of our sector, so we can't really do much about it but listen to the radio. Lots of reports coming in, all pretty bad. Luckily though, no American soldiers hurt in any of the blasts. What a crazy day. That's a really long post so I'll leave it at that. I hope it all makes sense, if something doesn't, just post a comment and I'll clarify. To reiterate, no Americans were hurt today and I am safe and sound. But I think I definitely earned my combat patch today. I think, in some ways, I'd rather be in a direct firefight instead of having rockets falling all around me. Anyway, we'll see what fun things tomorrow brings. Black Knight 14 out!


Blogger Jess said...

Hey, glad to hear that you're safe. Here are two pics I got off the Washington Post website... I know you can't tell one guy from another with the Kevlars and sunglasses and all, but I thought the guy on the left in the first pic looked a lot like you. Or at least that's what I told myself until you put your post up saying you're ok.

Blogger wouldn't let me code in the links, so copy and paste...

First pic (167k)

Second pic (713k)

BTW, package on the way from Springfield...


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